Title:
Desk accessory with photo display
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A desk accessory serves a dual purpose, such as holding one or more articles while also displaying a photo or other printed image on a strip substrate. For instance, the desk accessory may be structured to hold a clock, writing implements (pens, pencils, etc.), paper clips, a notepad or a beverage. The accessory device includes a main body with an outer shell, with at least a portion of the outer shell being formed of a transparent material. A slot opening in the main body is sized and configured for receipt of the elongate strip substrate therethrough. An interior channel communicating with the open slot extends behind the outer shell. Track members extending along opposite sides of the channel guide the strip substrate through the channel and hold the strip substrate in fixed position relative to the outer shell so that a front face of the strip substrate is visibly exposed through the transparent portion, thereby displaying a photograph or other image printed on the front face of the strip substrate.



Inventors:
Suzuki, Hitoshi (Tokyo, JP)
Application Number:
11/108373
Publication Date:
10/19/2006
Filing Date:
04/18/2005
Assignee:
Hiromori Corporation Holding Company
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47G1/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
VERAA, CHRISTOPHER
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ROBERT M. DOWNEY, P.A. (BOCA RATON, FL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A desk accessory device comprising: a main body with an outer shell, and at least a portion of said outer shell being transparent; said main body being structured and disposed to hold at least one of a first article; an elongate strip substrate having a front face with an image appearing thereon; an exterior slot opening on said main body communicating with an interior channel extending behind said outer shell, and said slot opening and said channel being sized, structured and configured for sliding receipt of said elongate strip substrate therethrough; and opposing track members extending along opposite sides of said channel for guiding said strip substrate through said channel and for positioning said front face of said strip substrate behind said transparent portion of said outer shell so that said image is visibly exposed through said transparent portion.

2. The desk accessory device as recited in claim 1 wherein said interior channel and said opposing track members conform to an exterior configuration of said outer shell.

3. The desk accessory device as recited in claim 2 wherein said interior channel and said opposing track members are curve linear.

4. The desk accessory device as recited in claim 3 wherein said elongate strip substrate is flexible.

5. The desk accessory device as recited in claim 4 wherein said elongate strip substrate is paper.

6. The desk accessory device as recited in claim 1 wherein said first article is a clock.

7. The desk accessory device as recited in claim 1 wherein said first article is a writing implement.

8. The desk accessory device as recited in claim 1 wherein said first article is a paper clip.

9. The desk accessory device as recited in claim 1 wherein said first article is paper.

10. The desk accessory device as recited in claim 1 wherein said first article is a liquid.

11. A desk accessory device comprising: a main body with an outer shell, and at least a portion of said outer shell being transparent; said main body being structured and disposed to hold at least one of a first article; an exterior slot opening on said main body communicating with an interior channel extending behind said outer shell, and said slot opening and said channel being sized, structured and configured for sliding receipt of an elongate strip substrate therethrough; and opposing track members extending along opposite sides of said channel for guiding the strip substrate through said channel and for positioning a front face of the strip substrate behind said transparent portion of the outer shell so that the front face is visibly exposed through said transparent portion.

12. The desk accessory device as recited in claim 11 wherein said interior channel and said opposing track members are straight.

13. The desk accessory device as recited in claim 11 wherein said interior channel and said opposing track members are curve linear.

14. The desk accessory device as recited in claim 13 wherein said interior channel and said opposing track members are formed and configured to conform with an outer configuration of said outer shell.

15. The desk accessory device as recited in claim 11 wherein said outer shell is formed entirely of a transparent material.

16. The desk accessory device as recited in claim 11 wherein said transparent portion of said outer shell is structured and disposed for visibly exposing an image on the front face of the strip substrate, so that the image is viewable from an exterior of said outer shell when said strip substrate is received within said interior channel.

17. The desk accessory device as recited in claim 11 wherein said opposing track members are structured and disposed to direct sliding movement of the strip substrate about a directional path of said interior channel.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to articles which display a photograph or other printed image on a flexible sheet substrate and, more particularly, to a desk accessory which serves the dual purpose of holding one or more articles and displaying a photograph or other printed image on a strip substrate which is received through a slot opening on the desk accessory item for visible positioning behind a transparent shell or cover.

2. Discussion of the Related Art

Most people who work at a desk require a number of different accessories in order to be functional in their daily routine. Items such as clocks, pencil cups, business card holders, paper clip trays, tape dispensers and notepad holders can be found on most desks in the workplace, in all types of businesses and professions. Accessory items of this type are often provided as a set so that all of the items match in style, color and appearance. However, these desk accessory items are made according to a manufacturer's standard and are not adapted to be personalized to suit an individual's personal taste or preference. To express their individuality and to feel more comfortable at their desk, many people like to display photos of loved ones, favorite places or prized possessions. Photo frames that stand upright on a desk surface and support a photograph behind a transparent glass or plastic panel are a common item of display on a desk or credenza. However, picture frames occupy a great deal of space and serve the single purpose of displaying the photograph.

Some items, such as clocks, are popular for use as promotional gifts for valued customers of a business. Many companies will send promotional gifts to existing customers as a sign of appreciation or to potential customers to attract new business. The need to customize the promotional product by displaying the company logo and other information, such as a website or phone number, is essential to fulfill the promotional purpose. This may be achieved by printing the company logo and other desired information on a sheet substrate and then applying the sheet substrate to the promotional item.

As noted above, there is a definite demand for the ability to customize various products to suit an individual customer's needs and desires. Presently, the field of desk accessory products provides a very limited ability for the customer to personalize the appearance, such as by displaying a photo, company logo, artistic design or other graphics.

Considering the foregoing, there remains an urgent need in the field of desk accessories for a means to allow the customer to personalize the accessory item. More particularly, there remains a need for desk accessory items, such as, but not limited to, clocks, pencil cups, paper clip holders and beverage cups, which are adapted for insertion of a strip substrate so that a select image printed on the substrate is visibly exposed through a transparent shell of the accessory item.

OBJECTS AND ADVANTAGES OF THE INVENTION

It is a primary object of the present invention to provide a desk accessory device which is adapted for receipt of a strip substrate through an open slot and wherein a photograph or other image printed on a front face of the strip substrate is visibly exposed through a transparent shell or cover of the device.

It is further object of the present invention to provide a desk accessory device which serves the dual purpose of holding one or more articles (e.g. a clock, writing implements, paper clips, paper, a beverage, etc.) while also displaying a photograph or other printed image on a strip substrate, and wherein the strip substrate is inserted through a slot opening of the accessory device for positioning the photograph or image behind a transparent shell or cover of the device.

It is further object of the present invention to provide a desk accessory device which can be personalized to suit the individual user, wherein a photograph or other image is inserted within the accessory device for visible exposure through an exterior transparent shell of the housing of the device.

It is yet a further object of the present invention to provide a desk accessory device which is readily adapted for use as a promotional gift item, wherein a business logo and other indicia are presented on a flexible strip substrate and visibly exposed through an outer transparent shell housing of the accessory device.

It is still a further object of the present invention to provide a desk accessory device which is readily adapted to be personalized by the individual user by inserting a paper strip substrate through an open slot to visibly expose a photograph or other image on the strip substrate through a transparent housing of the device, and wherein the photograph or image can be easily changed by the user.

These and other objects and advantages of the present invention are more readily apparent with reference to the following detailed description and accompanying drawings.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to a desk accessory item which serves a dual purpose, such as holding one or more articles while also displaying a photo or other printed image on a strip substrate. For instance, the desk accessory may be structured to hold a clock, writing implements (pens, pencils, etc.), paper clips, a notepad or a beverage.

In the same device, a photo or image is visibly displayed through the transparent outer wall structure. The accessory device includes a main body with an outer shell. At least a portion of the outer shell is formed of a transparent material. A slot opening in the main body is sized and configured for receipt of the elongate strip substrate therethrough. An interior channel communicating with the open slot extends behind the outer shell. Track members extending along opposite sides of the channel guide the strip substrate through the channel and hold the strip substrate in fixed position relative to the outer shell so that a front face of the strip substrate is visibly exposed through the transparent portion, thereby displaying the photograph or other image printed on the front face of the strip substrate.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a fuller understanding of the nature of the present invention, reference should be made to the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of the desk accessory device of the present invention, in accordance with one preferred embodiment in the form of a clock, showing an elongate strip substrate being inserted through a slot opening of the accessory device for travel about an interior channel so that an image on the front face of the strip substrate is visibly exposed through the transparent shell of the device;

FIG. 2 is an exploded side elevational view of the embodiment of FIG. 1 showing the outer transparent shell of the accessory device removed from a remainder of the main body;

FIG. 3 is a front perspective view of the accessory device, showing a second embodiment in the form of a digital clock; and

FIG. 4 is a front, top perspective view of the accessory device, showing a third embodiment of the invention in the form of a pencil cup for holding writing implements.

Like reference numerals refer to like parts throughout the several views of the drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring to the several views of the drawings, and initially FIGS. 1 and 2, the desk accessory device is shown and is generally indicated as 10. In each of the embodiments, the desk accessory device includes a main body 12 with an outer shell 14. The outer shell 14 may be formed entirely of a transparent material, such as a clear plastic composition. Alternatively, only a portion of the outer shell may be transparent.

In each of the embodiments shown, the main body 12 is formed, structured and configured to hold one or more items. For instance, in the embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2, the main body holds a mechanical or electromechanical clock 100 that has hands which move about a clock face to indicate time. The clock face and hands are visible through the transparent outer shell 14. In the embodiment of FIG. 3, the main body holds a digital clock 110 which displays the time on an LED or like display panel. The time is visible through the transparent outer shell 14. A further example is shown in FIG. 4, wherein the main body 12 is formed as a pencil cup for holding writing implements 120 such as pens, pencils, markers, scissors and the like.

As seen in FIGS. 1 and 2 the main body of the device is provided with a slot opening 20. In a preferred embodiment, the slot opening 20 is formed through the outer shell 14. The slot opening 20 communicates with an interior channel 22 which extends at least partially about the main body, generally following the exterior configuration. The slot opening 20 and channel 22 are specifically sized, structured and disposed for receipt and sliding passage of an elongate strip substrate 30 therethrough as illustrated in FIG. 1. In a preferred embodiment, the interior channel is formed about the housing 16 of the device, within the outer transparent shell 14. Opposing track members 26, 28 on opposite sides of the channel receive the opposite longitudinal edges 34, 36 of the elongate strip substrate 30 and guide the strip substrate through the channel and about any curved sections or radiused corners. The track members and interior channel are structured and configured to hold the strip substrate 30 in operative position, once fully inserted through the slot opening and below the outer shell so that a printed image 38 on the front face 32 of the strip substrate appears through the transparent outer shell as seen in FIGS. 1, 3 and 4. The printed image 38 may be any custom designed image, such as an artistic design, graphics, company logo or the like. Alternatively, the image may be a photograph or photocopy image. In one preferred embodiment, the photograph can be a panoramic view, such as a landscape scene, which appears about the exterior of the device, through the transparent shell. The strip substrate 30 may be removed and replaced with a new strip substrate to change the image. The strip substrate 30 is flexible and, in a preferred embodiment, is of a paper composition.

It is noted that while only a few examples of desk accessory devices are shown in the drawings, for demonstration purposes only, a wide variety of desk accessories are contemplated within the spirit and scope of the present invention including, but not limited to, beverage cups, paper clip holders, ash trays, note pad holders, business card holders and lamps.

While the instant invention has been shown and described in accordance with a preferred and practical embodiment thereof, it is recognized that departures from the instant disclosure are contemplated within the spirit and scope of the present invention.